A straight line connects the massacre in Metzer with the pogrom in Hebron. This line is drawn underneath four chilling words which, in the past two years, have become routine: Jewish blood is forfeit. Everywhere in the Land of Israel, in the ’48 borders and in the ’68 borders. We,afflicted by a total eclipse of the senses,are the only ones who differentiate between one murder scene and another.

The applause for the noble way in which members of Kibbutz Metzer accepted the terrible blow that they suffered-and this nobility itself, consisting of nothing but messianic mutterings about the peace that will come if Israel stops its actions in the territories-contributes to the next blood to be spilt. The justification that they gave for the massacre committed against them, one heard by the whole world, gives the green light for the murderers in Hebron and for those who will come after them.

The damage that they caused us was huge, partly because the world looking at the scenes of the murders does not know what to think: If the victims themselves say it, what position do you expect us to take?

The noble behavior of the people of Metzer will cost us more and more blood. More and more children will be killed in their sleep, or in the middle of a game in kindergarten, and the reaper will visit more and more families, as happens every day.

Because life here, let’s just say it, has become no less than Russian roulette. Our blood is also forfeit because of the admiration, which has become universal, for the wise, responsible, and balanced leadership of the Sharon government.

What is wise about this leadership if our blood is forfeit everywhere? How is it responsible if every day families are wiped off the face of the earth? What is balanced about it if every one of us asks himself deep in his heart, when will my turn come, or the turn of my loved ones?

They mock Binyamin Netanyahu when he repeatedly calls to get rid of Arafat, like Cato, who nagged the Roman senate to eliminate Hannibal. They claim that this will only set off a wildfire.

Arafat is a symbol. He is the embodiment of incitement, murder, and the forfeiture of Jewish blood, and has been for decades. By eliminating this symbol we will signal to the world that the period of restraint is over: from now on we will defend ourselves with all methods at our disposal, not with one hand tied behind our back.

Because our will to live and our lost self-respect are the burning issues now on the agenda. These are matters that the new prime minister will have to provide answers for in a quick and powerful fashion. He owes it to us.

This column appeared in Maariv on November 17, 2002